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CNO updates Code of Conduct

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) protects the public by promoting safe nursing practice. This includes setting and maintaining practice standards and guidelines to ensure all nurses practice safely and competently.

On Dec. 7, 2022, CNO Council approved proposed changes to CNO’s Code of Conduct to reflect the evolving health care needs of clients and the dynamic nature of the nursing profession. The new Code will take effect June 5, 2023, to allow the system time to prepare for the change.

“The Code outlines the fundamental expectations for safe, ethical and professional nursing practice and conduct,” says Silvie Crawford, CNO’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “As we see more nurses than ever before join the profession, it is important for the Code to reflect current practice realities, public expectations and societal values.”

As CNO’s overarching practice standard, the Code summarizes the expectations of all CNO practice standards and describes the conduct all nurses in Ontario are professionally accountable to, regardless of their role, job description or practice setting.  

The updates to the Code enhance nurses’ accountabilities and clarify expectations in areas focusing on providing inclusive and culturally safe care, independent practice and professional relationships with colleagues, to name a few.

“It is essential that the public continues to trust and have confidence in the care nurses provide,” says Naomi Thick, CNO Council President. “The Code of Conduct is the cornerstone of our practice standards and reflect public expectations of the nursing profession.”

CNO will continue to assess the standard of care within the context and circumstances nurses are working in. “Our purpose is to protect the public and promote safe nursing practice and we know nurses are always doing their best in every situation to maintain standards of practice. The health care system is complex and always evolving, that’s why it is so important that the standard of care is always considered in context,” says Crawford.

The updated Code of Conduct is now available for review on our Code of Conduct for Nurses page. We will share other supporting resources in the new year.




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Page last reviewed December 19, 2022